On Thursday, Jan. 21, we hosted a journey through the three classes and age groups, investigating how Mathematics is taught and how the materials change as the child grows.
Maria Montessori has said that the Human Being is born with a Mathematical Mind. The Mathematical Mind is a natural part of life. When Math and Geometry are introduced to children during the Primary class years, they grow up adoring Math.
The child creates his intelligence through activity of the hand and mind. Many math activities encourage the young child to explore and investigate, which are two of the natural tendencies of man. We use Materialized Abstractions in the Primary Environment. Materialized Abstractions offer “an idea” in concrete form.
The evening began with a synopsis of the “Decimal System Material.” This material is a collective exercise portraying addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We worked with multiplication showing how when two friends have the same number, this number is simply “taken two times”.
An Example: 2,342 x 2 = 4,684
Children are introduced to the decimal system addition games around age 4 and are working with multiplication from age 5. In the 3-6 class, units are color coded, with green for ones, blue for tens and red for hundreds.
We moved into the Lower Elementary Environment and had a lesson on The Wooden Hierarchical Material. This area of Mathematics is called “The Passage to Abstraction.” With this lesson, the child sees what a “million” looks like. It represents the idea of repeating correspondence of category and color as it moves green, blue, red, green, blue, red, green and so forth. They receive the impression of point, line, plane, point, line, plane.
Next, we did an example on the Small Bead Frame. The beads are color coded with green, blue, red, green but the beads are very small now and it takes focus and concentration to count and result with the correct answer to the example.
We showed the Checker board – which uses beads to continue multiplying large numbers and also shows category multiplication (e.g. Units x units equals units).Our kind two ladies multiplied 45,123,232 x 2 showing how working on the board, along with the bead bars made the problem easy to solve. These beads help us go to larger numbers.
When the child is ready, they move to the Elementary Bank game which consists of only cards. There, the child has memorized the times tables, and knows category x and exchanging. (3 x 40= 120) so one hundred and two tens (twenty). This is a group activity as the four adults who played the Elementary Bank game found out. It took a few of us to just put out the cards.
Parallel work shown was fractions and how this hands-on material shows how to identify fractions. What’s a 1/2? Show me. Then….
“What is a 1/2 equal to?
We continued into 9-12, where children work to complete all aspects of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions and then onto word problems. We looked at some word problems that the 6th year graduates had prepared.
Another aspect of work shown was the Decimals Board and how the colors of categories continue. This time the colors go to shades for 1/10, 1/100, 1/1000. Children entering the 9-12 class will go and multiply 0.36 x3 using materials. Other materials on display were the Power of 2, the Trinomial cube using the power of 10.
We concluded by discussing the Math activities and exercises that the 9-12 class engage in from Algebra to Ratios, how to change fractions into percentages and vice versa. Math is built into each day
on a regular basis and testing prep, where Math processes are moving towards abstraction.